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Zane Denmen, Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk Chef: Ten Questions

The Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk is one of those special Australian experiences that has been high on my travel wish list for a while now.

Being able to walk for days along such an iconic part of Australia’s coastline is already a great idea before you add in the fact that you get to spend your nights in a luxury eco lodge and eat gourmet meals along the way.

So I’m excited to say that in a few weeks I’m going to make that travel dream a reality when I strap on my first pair of hiking boots and follow in the footsteps of other nature loving walkers.

While I have known some people who have done and loved this walk before there will be a few changes when I do mine as last year the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk changed hands. With the new owners came a new chef, Zane Denmen, who both loves great food and great walks.

Zane grew up in a remote lighthouse station in Tasmania and after completing his chef’s apprenticeship and living around Australia he returned to Tasmania where he guided summer tours of the Bay Of Fires Lodge Walk. So he’s knows what he’s doing both in the kitchen and on a good long Aussie walk.

After spending the last two years working as a chef at Saffire at Freycinet, Zane has now taken over previous chef Ha Nguyen’s role.

I look forward to tucking into his meals and sharing what they’re like after the walk, but for now I wanted to find out a little bit more about Zane and his part of the world, so invited him to take part in Ten Questions. Over to Zane…

Zane Denmen Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk Chef

What’s the best thing about your job?

Meeting a wide range of people and being a part of their holiday. As a chef you don’t always get much time interacting with customers, here at the 12 Apostles Lodge Walk, I get to spend just as much time interacting with the guests as I do cooking for them. This is a real highlight for me.

If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?

While I love spending time playing in the kitchen, I am also a keen walker so spending more time on the track with the guests would be great!

What’s something about your role that you wish people understood?

There is more to cheffing then what you see on T.V. A lot of time is spent researching, costing and cleaning. When you plate up an amazing dish people often don’t realise how many boring details have gone into creating it.

What’s your favourite thing to do on your day off?

Explore the beautiful coast. I love balancing my time off with outdoor activities and some relaxing. I often pack up for my days off and head camping, fishing and as many water based activities as possible.

What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends?

I guess it won’t be a secret anymore but one of my favourite tips is how to infuse oil with different flavours. This is really helpful for base flavours, as good things come from a good base.

If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner?

The Spirit House. I am real passionate about sourcing food locally and this place cooks produce from their own garden, plus I love Thai style cooking.

Where do you take a friend when they come to visit?

I would take them to the Bay of Martyr’s, which is further West than the 12 Apostles, I love this bay as it is further off the beaten path.

What’s the best shopping experience in town?

I don’t have any local shops but there are some great antique shops along the coast, there is also a fantastic Otway food trail which passes some amazing farm and cellar doors along the way.

Is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing?

Cape Otway Lighthouse and of course the Twelve Apostles, which you have to see at least once.

Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself?

The Otway Fly, which is a local canopy walk through the temperate rainforest.


Heading to Victoria? You may want to check out some great things to do in the beautiful Yarra Valley, including a surprising stay at the Best Western Yarra Valley.